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La Jolla school cluster group on right path

Sometimes when a community group decides to tackle an issue they do it the right way.

We’d like to commend the parents who led the recent La Jolla Schools Cluster organizing meeting for doing just that.

The 10 parents, two from each of La Jolla’s public schools, started meeting only a month ago with the idea of forming a group involving people from all of the campuses that feed into La Jolla High. It’s not a new concept — Point Loma already has a cluster and several others are in the formative stages — but it’s one that could go a long way in helping our schools maintain their high standards in the face of shrinking budgets.

From the looks of the Web site at www.lajollacluster.com and the information the organizers shared at the Jan. 21 meeting, they know what they’re doing.

Instead of marching out an agenda that intimidates people with a mission statement that others can’t relate to, they invested countless hours preparing for that meeting and are asking for help in formulating a plan.

They know the goal: Form a nonprofit that “can share ideas and resources ... identify common goals for K through 12 ... build bridges between schools to ease transitions ... determine spending priorities.”

Such a group would serve as a unified voice to bring matters to the school board’s attention and “would create an environment of unity instead of competition in our community.”

Getting people involved is the first step; getting their buy-in comes next. That’s why these parents plan to meet with the teachers and staffs at the schools to explain that they’re all in the fight together. It’s also why they plan to do a survey and seek more ideas on what parents, school employees and community residents think the group should accomplish. And it’s why their seeking volunteers to help them.

They’re not advocating a particular solution at this point, but rather are putting lots of ideas on the table, gathering answers and finding examples of what has been done elsewhere.

They’re very upfront about explaining on their home page that the mere formation of an organization “does not change ANYTHING relating to our schools’ budgets, school boundaries, or existing programs at the district level. CHANGE will only come when the cluster organization marshals its substantial influence and creates positive opportunities at the board and district

level.”

Surviving a budget crisis like the San Diego Unified School District is in the midst of won’t be easy, but with people who care and give of their time, there’s hope that La Jolla’s children will be continue to be at the top of their class.